When teachers begin planning a school trip, the road ahead can look like a daunting journey of red tape and flaming hoops, and the easiest escape is to refer to a ready-made list of excuses.
But travelling with students is not something that should be feared or avoided, especially when you realise that the level of enrichment far outweighs the potential stress.
Are educational tours as strenuous as you think?
Below we’ve disproved some of the common beliefs regarding extra-curricular escapades.
School trips disrupt learning
Do school trips require time to be taken out of the classroom? Yes. But who’s to say all teaching has to happen in the classroom? Many teachers are beginning to recognise the value that the outside world can add to your students’ education.
Planet Earth is home to a plethora of sensory experiences, many of which lend themselves to different ways of learning. Those who don’t enjoy or engage with classroom learning may find themselves thriving in an environment where they can see, smell, feel and hear their lessons. It brings the curriculum to life and allows students to make a physical connection to the things they’ve been taught.
As well as exposing students to different cultures, authentic traditions and native languages, school trips can contribute to invaluable personal development including independence, social skills, career choices and a sense of responsibility.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that school trips, in fact, are learning.
School trips cost too much
But they don’t have to! The most important thing to consider when planning a trip is exactly what you want your students to gain from it, before you even start thinking about how to deliver the learning.
There are many ways to make your trip more cost-effective when taking students abroad, such as travelling by coach, staying in hostels and opting for free or low-cost excursions.
Travel with a reputable tour organiser who has expert knowledge of your chosen destination, and they will be able to tailor your itinerary to suit both your budget and your learning objectives.
Choose your timing wisely as certain times of year mean higher prices. Maintain as much communication as possible with parents – you may want to consider offering a payment plan over time or organising some fundraising activities in school to help pay for the trip.
School trips are a logistical headache
Again, they don’t have to be! There is an ongoing debate as to whether a DIY school trip is better than using a tour operator, but the reality is that those who book trips day-in day-out will have invaluable knowledge to share with you and guide you through the process, ensuring no important details are missed.
On the trip itself, many teachers find themselves wondering how they are going to deliver their subject curriculum in a completely different environment. Look into the resources that are available to you, for example hiring a field study tutor or a history tour guide, who can join your trip solely to teach your students according to your learning objectives. In fact, based on feedback received from teachers over the years, at Rayburn Tours we won’t plan a history trip without recommending a history tour guide for the group.
Many teachers are beginning to recognise the value that the outside world can add to your students’ education
School trips encourage bad behaviour
When taking students out of school it can be easy to become a lot stricter. You’re more on edge and always anticipating potential issues.
Instead, try to see it as an adventure for your group. They’re being subjected to a different kind of stimulus and will be extremely curious. Studies have proven that learning outside the classroom has a positive effect on motivation and behaviour.
Adventure and physical challenges allow students to expel their energy and apply their knowledge and skills in a different way. Similarly, having access to the arts can stimulate an emotional and thoughtful reaction, therefore making learning a lot more engaging.
Make fun high on your agenda and focus on the opportunities to be had.
School trips won’t benefit a teacher’s career
The term ‘extra-curricular’ is always associated with more time and therefore more work, so to add to the load of a teacher’s already packed schedule can seem counterproductive.
Think about the passion you have for your subject and how an increased uptake at choices stage will reflect positively on you. The relationships you have with your students will become more solid, making for a less stressful experience when back in the classroom. Not only that, you will have a deeper understanding of the way your students like to learn and can therefore encourage a more committed attitude towards education.
A school trip is your chance to learn and show your skills as much as it is your students’. See it as a development opportunity and an unmissable experience, rather than a time wasting nuisance!
Group travel specialists since 1965, Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that’s dedicated to creating tailor-made educational, sports and ski trips for schools, as well as music tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.